Weekly Share September 9th – 15th

Eggplants (Dancer, Prosperosa, and Striped)
Potatoes (Yukon Gold or Kerr’s Pink)
Peppers (Anaheim, Poblano, or Cubanelle)
Onions (Candy)
Black Eyed Peas or Borlotto Beans
Okra or Swiss Chard
This is the last week of our Spring/Summer 2013 Share. We hope you have enjoyed the season and produce as much as we have. To mark the end of our main season, we are having an open house this coming Saturday Sept 14th from 2-5pm at the farm. We will give two tours; one of our vegetable crops and one of our pastured poultry as well as have a short demonstration about crop cultivation from hand, to hoe, to tractor. Please take a leisurely afternoon out in the country and come see what we do. Stroll the grounds, check out our fall crops working to get bigger, visit our pond and wetland, check out the ducks, and enjoy our organic heirloom apples and figs right off the trees. Let us know if you think you can come out, we would love to have you.
This week at market I was reminded of how limited many people feel by eggplants, because we farmers have so many right now and not enough people are buying them. This is such a remarkable climate for eggplant and in August and September the plants really thrive, so we need customers to delve into the versatility of the eggplant and learn to love them. Indeed they do need to be cooked and sometimes this takes a bit of preparation, which not everyone has time for on a regular basis. Plus many people just do not like them. As a child who hated eggplant, it took me many years to learn to love them and realize what I hated was the overgrown, spongy and mushy texture which is so prevalent in American cuisine using the large mondo eggplants. But there are so many different ways that eggplant can be cooked, prepared, and served, that now I am one of its biggest fans. I love this time of year because peppers, eggplant, and okra are in true form and they were meant to grow here in Virginia, as a farmer I really appreciate what thrives in this environment and on my soil. These three crops are all truly underused and underestimated vegetables that can serve as the main part of many meals, not just a small side. Check out this great article by Mark Bittman about eggplant: Meaty and Mighty Praising the Versatile Eggplant as well as the recipes below for new or old ideas. The peas/beans need to be shelled ( a little work) and they are our first trials of different varieties of shelling or dried beas and peas so let us know what you think. Enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
Mutabal (Syria, Lebanon) from Evrim Dogu, Sub Rosa
Often called baba ganouj, I refer to the recipe with tahini by the traditional name “mutabal,” and the eggplant dip without tahini as baba ganouj (or eggplant salad). Another wonderful variation is to add yogurt instead of tahini and leave out the lemon.
2 large/4 medium/ or 6 small eggplants (large are best for use of flesh)
Tahini (I use Chef Ramzi brand)
Juice of one lemon
Garlic 1-2 cloves
Olive oil
Tomatoes, parsley, etc to garnish
Boil the eggplant, or if you have a gas stove perforate the eggplant and place directly on the flame, max high. By all means if you have charcoal or a wood fire going, bury in the coals for 20-30 min. Turn them every so often and only take off (or out of water/fire) when the eggplant feels absurdly soft, test with fork. Strip off the skin. De-seed if possible. Using your hands, potato masher, a blender, or food mill/processor turn into a creamy wonder. Add tahini, lemon juice, and garlic smashed in small salt. Use eggplant’s left over juices if necessary for consistency. The amount of tahini will differ from person to person. Start with 3-4 tablespoons and go from there. Blend until of one consistency, Garnish with chunks of tomato, chopped parsley, and a generous lathering of olive oil. Enjoy!
Caponata from The Kitchen Garden
Lots and lots of olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 head garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp chili flakes or fresh hot peppers, to taste
1 pound peppers, cut into large chunks
1 pound eggplant, cut into large chunks
1 or 2 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp chopped Kalamata olives
Few sprigs chopped basil and parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat about 4 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven with a lid that can go in the oven. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the pepper flakes and peppers and sauté over medium heat 5-10 minutes.  Add eggplant and sauté another several minutes. You may want to add more oil to make sure everything is generously anointed.  Add the tomatoes.  Cover the pot and put it in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes.  Everything should be very, very soft.  Season with salt, pepper and the other seasonings.  Adjust sweetness, salt and acidity to taste.  Serve it warm on fresh crusty bread or at room temperature the next day.  Makes a great pasta sauce, too. (The original version contains chunks of celery, too.  If you like celery, you can add it when you add the tomatoes.)
lebanese-style stuffed eggplant from Smitten Kitchen blog
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